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11AEMPA - Australia's Shame (2016) - Documentary Study: Home

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Codes And Conventions Of Documentary:


  • The voiceover will usually be authoritative in some way, encouraging the audience to think that they either have some kind of specialist knowledge or ‘the right’ opinions that people should pay attention to.


  • Documentary is essentially seen as ‘non-fiction’ although there are debates around this.
  • However, a convention of documentary is that all events presented to us are to be seen as ‘real’ by the audience.
  • Documentarians often go to great lengths to convince us that the footage is real and unaltered in anyway, although editing and voiceover can affect the ‘reality’ we, as viewers, see.


Including ‘natural’ sound and lighting. For example when the guards ask "Is this recording?"


  • To aid authenticity and to add further information which the film maker may be unable to obtain themselves.


  • Used to authenticate the views expressed in the documentary. Sometimes, they will disagree with the message of the documentary, although the film maker will usually disprove them in some way.
  • For example, when Barrister John B Lawrence describes the youth justice systems as based on “deliberate, punitive and  cruel policy”


  • Watch out for the use of words on screen to anchor images in time and space. Labels, dates etc tend to be believed unquestioningly and are a quick and cheap way of conveying information.
  • Foe example, each expert tends to be named with their position each time they speak.


  • Listen out for the use of non-diegetic sound. Has music been added? Why what effects does it have? Is sound used as a bridge between scenes and if so what meanings are made?
  • Non-diegetic sound can be called commentary or non-literal sound.
  • Non-diegetic sound is any type of sound that does not specifically exist within the world of the film itself. In other words, it’s the type of sound that characters in a film are not able to hear, but that we can. In fact, all non-diegetic sound is added to a film in the post-production phase.
  • Commentary sound is included in movies for a wide variety of reasons. They can include:

    • To communicate messages directly between the filmmaker and the audience
    • To create mood or atmosphere
    • To foster suspense
    • To drive home emotional impact
    • To clue the audience in to major themes without directly using the characters


  • Not just reconstructions of events that happened in the past but also setting up 'typical' scenes. So if you want to quickly convey 'classroom' you might ask a class to put their hands up like there's a lesson going on and the teacher's just asked a question. Strictly speaking what you're showing is not 'true' the teacher didn't ask a question, but it is a way of cheaply getting footage a crew might have had to wait fifteen minutes for if they had just waited for it to happen 'naturally'. There is an issue here however because if crews make a habit of using set ups they will only be using images of 'reality' that audiences already recognise (confirming stereotypes perhaps) and producing fresh images/ ideas about 'reality' will be impossible. There's a sort of vicious cycle here. If I show you radically different images from inside a school you may reject them as atypical or 'unreal' but if I can only offer you a 'reality' you already know about how can I change your opinions?


  • Things like mise en scene and props. Is that doctor any less a doctor if she's not in a white coat and wearing a stethoscope? Has someone been ambushed in the street to make them look shifty?
  • Is the mother any less distraught if she doesn't have a physical memorial in her home for her dead son?

Online databases:

A online collection of magazine and newspaper articles as well as interview transcripts, images and videos. You can sort your results by publication, full text versions and even date. Online databases are available through the portal and many require specific login details.

Both EBSCOhost and Gale INFOTRAC have specialized databases so use these first. 

Suggested articles would include:

Online encyclopaedia:

Online encyclopaedias are great for short, concise and reliable information. It may be best to access these articles from the Online encyclopaedias page through the Hale portal. Don't forget Britannica has ready made citations for you to use.

  • Variety of reading levels
  • Quality resources including text, images, videos and ‘Web’s Best Sites’
  • Read aloud facility
  • Size your font up or down
  • Ready-made citation


This means if you are 10 or older, and you commit a criminal offence, you can be charged by the police and convicted in court. Between the ages of 10 and 14 years old, the police must prove in court that you understood you were doing the wrong thing. If you are over 14 years old, the law says you can be held responsible for your actions, even if you didn't actually know that you were doing the wrong thing or were breaking the law.

The Intensive Supervision Unit  is meant to be a place of last resort, where under an order the boy would have been entitled to exercise three times for 30 minutes each a day, or at least one hour a day, according to the Young Offenders Act.

Under the law Western Australia, young people under the age of 18 are dealt with using a special youth justice system to make sure that they are treated fairly.

The special laws that cover how to treat a young offender do not cover certain crimes.  Some examples of offences which ARE covered include:

  • Driving without displaying P plates,
  • Offensive language,
  • Causing damage to a fountain at a park,
  • Drinking alcohol with friends at a park,
  • Stealing cattle from a farm,
  • Breaking and entering into a house and stealing.

A caution is an oral or written notice from a police officer.

A police officer may give a caution to a young person if they have committed or are alleged to have committed a minor crime covered by the Act. A police officer may decide not to issue a caution if they think it is not in the interest of justice to do so.

When a police officer is deciding whether or not to give a caution, any past offences and the seriousness of the offence will be taken into consideration.

JJTs specify terms for the young person to comply with (also known as an ‘action plan’). The action plan may include a formal apology, agreeing to be assessed for counselling, a voluntary work task, or paying a sum of money. The type of punishment will take into account the young person’s age and maturity, and any conditions that have been set by their family.

These types of punishments are intended to promote the development of the young offender within their family and to help the offender accept responsibility for their offences. It seeks to deal with the reasons why a young person has committed an offence in order to prevent them from offending in future.

Children and young people aged 10 to 17 years can be charged under the WA Criminal Code. In 2018–19, there were 5,989 children and young people aged 10 to 17 years who were proceeded against (both court and non-court actions) for one or more offences in WA.3 This represents approximately 2.3 per cent of the population of WA’s children and young people aged 10 to 17 years (257,000). The most common principal offence in WA was theft (457.8 per 100,000 young people) followed by acts intended to cause injury (451.9 per 100,000 young people) and unlawful entry with intent (413.0 per 100,000 young people).

Australian Bureau of Statistics:

There were 44,496 offenders aged between 10 and 17 years proceeded against by police in 2020–21, at a rate of 1,785 offenders per 100,000 persons aged between 10 and 17 years.

Both the number of offenders and the offender rate dropped to the lowest recorded in the time series.


Law and Justice: Contact with the justice system:

In 2008:

  • 17% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth reported that they had been arrested in the last five years
  • youth who had been arrested in the last five years were more likely to have been a victim of physical violence and to have experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress than those who had not.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth who had been arrested in the last five years were more likely than those who had not to:

Youth who had been arrested in the last five years were also less likely than those who had not been arrested to report their health as excellent or very good (49% and 60% respectively).


From Australian Bureau of Statistics

Reference Generator:

Reference Generator It is important to provide evidence of using a variety of reliable resources. Use the online Reference Generator available through the Portal to create your citations. Make sure you alphabetically sort them afterwards. Click here for a Hale School guide to referencing.


A sample bibliography for 3 resources suggested on this page would look like:

Criminal justice 2022. Britannica School. Retrieved 4 August 2022, from

‘NT royal commission: How did youth detention and child protection systems break so badly?’ n.d., ABC Premium News, viewed 4 August 2022, <>.

‘Youth detention royal commission: “Systemic failures” occurred, says former minister’ n.d., ABC Premium News, viewed 4 August 2022, <>.


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